Saturday 11 April 2020

A German view on extraneous CO2

In these difficult times it has been encouraging to see many people return to beer blogging. But there has been a noticeable lack of pointless arguments, which as we know is what the internet is for. So you'll be pleased to hear I spotted in article in the IBD magazine where a German brewer gives his views on extraneous CO2. Always good for a pointless argument that.

Often I've seen Satan's minions dismiss any objections to artificially carbonating beer by saying that "CO2 is CO2", which is true on a molecular level, but misses the point that all bubbles are most certainly not the same.

Dr Frank Müller, Brewmaster at Riegele brewery, certainly holds this view as the article reports that he:
"describes fermentation derived carbonation as a more delicate, more integrated effervescence than the coarse bubbles that result from CO2 delivered by gas suppliers and injected in-line. One theory briefly mentioned in the course of this conversation dealt with saturation aspects of CO2 around haze particles, visibly perceived or not evident. Arguably, a slow evolution of CO2 leads to a more gradual saturation and better mouthfeel properties in the final beer."

Germany may sadly have been on the wrong side of the great schism and most of their beer is served in an illicit manner, but the German brewing tradition is still valid, as are the views of Dr Müller. The best information I've found on bubbles due to natural carbonation came from a book I read about champagne bubbles. It came to the same conclusion: that during secondary fermentation tiny particles make nucleation sites for CO2 bubbles, leading to smaller bubbles with a smoother mouthfeel. But you don't need to take my word for it, just say "Get thee behind me Satan" to the Lord of Lies and use your own senses when drinking a naturally carbonated beverage.


  1. I definitely prefer my Lager served Bayerische Anstich.

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